The non-separability of "dielectric" and "mechanical" friction in molecular systems: A simulation study

P. V. Kumar, M. Maroncelli

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Simulations of the time-dependent friction controlling rotational, translational, and vibrational motions of dipolar diatomic solutes in acetonitrile and methanol have been used to examine the nature of "dielectric" friction. The way in which electrical interactions increase the friction beyond that present in nonpolar systems is found to be rather different than what is anticipated by most theories of dielectric friction. Long-range electrostatic forces do not simply add an independent contribution to the friction due to short-ranged or "mechanical" sources (modeled here in terms of Lennard-Jones forces). Rather, the electrical and Lennard-Jones contributions are found to be strongly anticorrelated and not separable in any useful way. For some purposes, the mechanism by which electrical interactions increase friction is better viewed as a static electrostriction effect: electrical forces cause a subtle increase in atomic density in the solute's first solvation shell, which increases the amplitude of the force fluctuations derived from the Lennard-Jones interactions, i.e., the mechanical friction. However, electrical interactions also modify the dynamics of the friction, typically adding a long-time tail, which significantly increases the integral friction. Both of these effects must be included in a correct description of friction in the presence of polar interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5370-5381
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 22 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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